Bail for Defendants Facing Felony Charges in NJ
If you have been arrested for a crime, especially a felony-level offense, it is very possible that you will be processed and then taken to the county jail. Following a bail conference hearing, you will likely have a bail amount set. This means that you will be able to secure your release from jail by posting bail. Failure to post bail, or to successfully petition to get your bail reduced or waived, could mean that you will remain incarcerated until your case is resolved.
Making matters worse: the NJ criminal justice moves very slowly, so you may have to stay in jail for many months, or even longer, until your case reaches trial.
Bail Determinations in New Jersey
The more serious the criminal charge, the higher the bail amount. Lesser offenses, such as disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors) and municipal ordinance violations, typically come with much lower bail amounts. In some cases, lesser offenses don’t require any bail to be posted at all, with the defendant securing release on their own recognizance.
However, not all criminal defendants are eligible for release on bail in New Jersey. At your bail hearing, the superior court judge will examine your case and consider several factors, including:
- The severity of your criminal charge.
- The likelihood of a conviction.
- Whether you have a prior criminal record.
- Whether you pose a flight risk prior to trial.
- Whether you were already out on bail when you were arrested.
- Your financial resources and ability to post bail.
After considering all of these factors, the judge will make a determination about whether you qualify for bail and what constitutes an appropriate bail amount in your case.
NJ Criminal Charges That Qualify for Bail
Under New Jersey law, the only defendants who are ineligible for bail are those who have been charged with crimes that are punishable by death and only when the prosecutor offers proof that conviction is likely and that the probable punishment will be the death penalty. This effectively means that all criminal defendants are eligible for bail in New Jersey because the NJ Legislature abolished the death penalty in 2007.
However, starting in 2017, there could be a number of criminal defendants who are suddenly deemed ineligible for release on bail. That’s because NJ legislators recently approved a new statute that significantly alters bail requirements by granting prosecutors more leeway to hold “dangerous” criminal without bail. So anyone who has been charged with a violent crime and who has been deemed a risk to the public could find that they are ineligible for bail.
If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey and need assistance with securing your release from jail, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Jill R. Cohen, Esq., is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the nuances of the NJ criminal justice system and who will help you throughout the legal process. Contact The Law Offices of Jill R. Cohen now to schedule a free consultation.